Anticancer activities of cranberry phytochemicals: an update
Studies employing mainly in vitro tumor models show that extracts and compounds isolated from cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon) inhibit the growth and proliferation of several types of tumor including breast, colon, prostate, and lung. Proanthocyanidin oligomers, flavonol and anthocyanin glycosides and triterpenoids are all likely contributors to the observed anticancer properties and may act in a complementary fashion to limit carcinogenesis. Possible chemopreventive mechanisms of action by cranberry phytochemicals include induction of apoptosis in tumor cells, reduced ornithine decarboxylase activity, decreased expression of matrix metalloproteinases associated with prostate tumor metastasis, and anti-inflammatory activities including inhibition of cyclooxygenases. A review of recent studies suggests a potential role for cranberry as a dietary chemopreventive and provides direction for future research.